It may be as long as 13 months before a decision is made on an alternate road for Provo Canyon.
Construction could also be delayed because of loss of funds if the tax rollback and limitation initiatives pass.The Utah Department of Transportation's contract with the consulting firm that did work on the supplemental environmental impact statement expired the night of an Aug. 18 public hearing in Orem. As a result, there has been little progress on preparing the document for final release.
"We are now working on a new contract to carry the project through the final SEIS," said Gene Findlay, UDOT director.
A contract with Howard, Needles, Tammen and Bergendoff, the Washington consulting firm that prepared the statement, is expected to be signed Monday.
Findlay said it would take the consulting firm eight months to prepare the final version of the impact statement.
Public hearings on the final impact statementand review by UDOT, the Transportation Commission and the Federal Highway Administration will take an additional five months.
Findlay said UDOT will adopt as many of the recommendations of the Provo Canyon Parkway Committee as possible in designing the road once an alternative is selected.
"We have agreed that it will be a multiuse road with four lanes, a median and a 50-mph speed limit," Findlay said. "We will accommodate as many of their recommendations as we can.
The Parkway committee met Wednesday evening to discuss reorganizing into subcommittees to work through the design phase of construction.
Subcommittees will focus on road design, creation of a bike/hike trail through the canyon, interstate trucking and reorganization of the Parkway committee.
One member of the road design committee will work with UDOT during road design. UDOT has also asked for a member of the consulting firm's citizen participation committee to work with them during the design phase.
The bike/hike committee will investigate getting the trail under way as soon as possible.
The reorganization committee will work with the Utah County attorney's office to establish the Parkway committee as a legal, non-profit entity.
Jim Young, director of the Utah County Travel Council, said response to several ads placed in a local paper by the Parkway committee has been outstanding. The committee has received more than 1,000 responses and approximately $450 in donations.
Dan Nelson, director of UDOT District 6, told members of the Parkway committee passage of tax initiatives that will be on the ballot this fall could impact completion of U.S. 189.
Rollback of the five-cent gasoline tax would reduce highway road funds 23 percent, or $41 million. (UDOT has been allocating $17 million a year for road construction projects.)
Nelson said the lost revenue figure does not include the reduction in federal matching funds that would also occur if the initiatives pass.